By February 24, 2011 0 Comments Read More →

Peter Pan

Every month our staff meets to discuss a book from one of many genres that are on our reader’s advisory book discussion outline.  This month the topic was classic fiction and our youth librarian was the leader.  She selected Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie.

In discussing a title like this, one of the issues a leader has to wrestle with is the false memories of the participants.  When everyone knows Peter Pan, part of the discussion can be spent on whether or not we have ever actually read the book.  After this reading, I am convinced that I probably only ever read an “easy” reading version of this work.  Like all people my age, I also am heavily influenced by the Disney version of the story.

Most of my participation in the discussion dealt with the surprising amount of satire in the novel, placing it well within the school that also includes such great works as Gulliver’s Travels and Lord of the Flies.  The role of play in life, the death of creativity, and the free-spirited life of the innocent are all major discussion points.  The book has a definite negative side which opens up the topics of responsibility, parenting, aging and death. 

We found that this impressive children’s classic worked well for an adult book discussion.  If you are in the mood for fairy dust, ticking crocodiles and other stuff that dreams are made of, this book could work for your group as well as it did for ours.

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About the Author:

Gary Niebuhr is the author of Make Mine a Mystery (2003), Caught up in Crime (2009), and other readers' guides to mystery and detective fiction. He was a Booklist contributor from 2008-2014.

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